Local and regional founder effects in lake zooplankton persist after thousands of years despite high dispersal potential

M. Ventura, A. Petrusek, A. Miró, E. Hamrová, D. Buñay, L. De meester, Joachim Mergeay

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

    17 Downloads (Pure)


    We reconstructed the genetic structure of a planktonic crustacean Daphnia longispina living in high mountain lakes and ponds in the Pyrenees to investigate whether it was shaped by persistent founder effects originating shortly after the last glacial maximum or by ongoing dispersal and effective migration (gene flow). We found that the genetic structure can largely be explained by a single colonization event following gradual deglaciation of the Pyrenees c. 10-15 000 years ago. Nuclear genetic diversity declined steeply from southeast to northwest, suggestive of serial colonization of available habitats with advancing deglaciation. The spatial genetic structure suggests that founder effects were major determinants of the present-day diversity, both at the catchment level and at the level of individual water bodies, further supporting extremely low effective migration rates. This study reveals a prime example of a founder effect that is both long-lasting and maintained at small spatial scales. Our data suggest a process of isolation by colonisation as a result of strong priority effects and monopolisation. We found evidence for the spread of haplotypes with Pyrenean ancestry across the Palearctic over distances up to 5500 km, although the local genetic structure after colonization was hardly influenced by contemporary dispersal. Finally, our data also suggest that mitochondrial mutation rates in the studied populations were seven times higher than typically assumed. Overall, we show that founder effects can persist for centuries even at small spatial scales at which the potential for dispersal is high.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMolecular Ecology
    Pages (from-to)1014-1027
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Thematic list

    • Species and biotopes

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B005-zoology

    Taxonomic list

    • zooplankton (Cladocera, Copepoda, Ostracoda)


    • genetic technologies
    • statistics and modelling

    Free keywords

    • population genetics


    Dive into the research topics of 'Local and regional founder effects in lake zooplankton persist after thousands of years despite high dispersal potential'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this